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 Unions attack Workcover

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dianne



Number of posts : 7
Registration date : 2007-06-04

PostSubject: Unions attack Workcover   Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:30 pm

Unions attack WorkCover

Article from: The Advertiser

MICHAEL OWEN, POLITICAL REPORTER

June 15, 2007 01:30pm

UNIONS have accused the WorkCover Corporation and Business SA of
"mischievously misrepresenting" WorkCover's financial situation to try
and cut workers' entitlements.

SA Unions today released a discussion paper it commissioned by UniSA workers' compensation expert Kevin Purse.

Dr Purse this morning criticised the management of the WorkCover
Corporation and said an overhaul of the executive and the board was an
option the Government should consider.

"The management approach is fundamentally flawed," he told reporters.

"We need to set that right and if that doesn't occur, the prospects of the scheme aren't particularly great."

But he stopped short of attacking Industrial Relations Minister
Michael Wright, saying the executive and the board of WorkCover had to
shoulder most of the blame for its problems.

"They're the ones charged with the responsibility for the management of the scheme," he said.

"What the Government should be doing is stepping in and saying `you need to return to core business"'.

The discussion paper is a "precursor" to the State Government's WorkCover inquiry, SA Unions president Nick Thredgold said.

"Dr Purse has examined WorkCover without fear or favour and cut
through the hysteria and misinformation generated by self-interested
parties such as Business SA," he said.

As reported by The Advertiser last month, Business SA is urging
more than 60,000 employers to lobby MPs until the scheme is changed to
cut costs and return more injured workers to jobs.

Mr Thredgold said among key points of the discussion paper were:

DEBATE about WorkCover's financial situation has been distorted by
a simplistic preoccupation with the scheme's unfunded liability.

WORKCOVER'S "excellent" investment performance has been ignored, which means its liabilities have been seriously overstated.

A MORE accurate and statistically robust assessment of performance would reduce the scheme's unfunded liability by $300 million.

Business SA and the State Opposition have been warning WorkCover's unfunded liability will soon reach $1 billion.

They also have been highly critical of the State Government's
decision in March to shelve the WorkCover board's reform plans and,
instead, call for another review.

'Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith said he welcomed the discussion paper.

"This is Labor's own people telling them there's something wrong," he said.

"Maybe this time Minister Michael Wright will listen and actually do something.

"The message from unions is clear.

"They believe WorkCover has to get back on track with better
management, better direction from the board and better direction from
government.

"That's exactly what we have been saying for years. WorkCover is a mess."

Mr Wright said the Government had "every confidence" in the WorkCover management and board.

"The closing date for submissions to the WorkCover review is June 30 and I welcome all contributions," he said.
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